County C’ship re­turns to late Sept in 2013

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -


County cricket will re­turn to the lat­ter half of Septem­ber in 2013, with the fix­ture list con­firm­ing that the win­dow in the ICC's Fu­ture Tours Pro­gramme re­served for the T20 Cham­pi­ons League will not be kept free. The fi­nal round of the Cham­pi­onship will be­gin on Septem­ber 24, 2013, mean­ing that the sea­son will not be sub­ject to the record early starts of re­cent years.

For the last three sea­sons, cricket in Eng­land has ceased in mid-Septem­ber, to ac­com­mo­date the Cham­pi­ons League. How­ever, the coun­ties re­cently agreed not to par­tic­i­pate in the 2013 com­pe­ti­tion, in or­der to pro­tect the domestic cal­en­dar.

The open­ing round of Cham­pi­onship matches will com­mence on April 10, five days later than in 2012, when the tra­di­tional pre-sea­son univer­sity fix­tures were forced to be­gin in March. The fi­nal of the Cly­des­dale Bank 40 will be held at Lord's on Satur­day Septem­ber 21, mean­ing that the domestic sea­son will start and fin­ish with first-class cricket.

The Friends Life t20 group stage, in its fi­nal year as a block, has been moved back due to the stag­ing of the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy in Eng­land and is sched­uled to run for six weeks from June 26. The tour­na­ment re­tains the same for­mat as last sea­son, with three groups and ten games per county; Fi­nals Day will be held at Edg­bas­ton on Satur­day Au­gust 17.

War­wick­shire, win­ners of the 2012 Cham­pi­onship, will play the Cham­pion County match against MCC in Abu Dhabi at the end of March be­fore be­gin­ning their de­fence against newly pro­moted Der­byshire. York­shire, run­ner­sup be­hind Der­byshire in Di­vi­sion Two, will mark their re­turn to the top tier by host­ing Sus­sex at Head­in­g­ley. The two rel­e­gated clubs, Lan­cashire and Worces­ter­shire, are to face off at Old Traf­ford in the open­ing round of Di­vi­sion Two.

Hamp­shire, hold­ers of both lim­ited-overs tro­phies, will play the first CB40 fix­ture of the sea­son in a flood­lit match at Es­sex on May 3, with Scot­land, Nether­lands and the Uni­corns again join­ing the 18 coun­ties in three groups. The com­pe­ti­tion is due to re­vert to a 50-over for­mat from 2014, af­ter the ECB and the coun­ties agreed a com­pro­mise that would re­tain the cur­rent Cham­pi­onship struc­ture.

As well as the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy, which runs from June 6 un­til June 23, New Zealand will tour Eng­land in the first part of the sum­mer, fol­lowed by the Ashes, with the first Test against Aus­tralia start­ing at Trent Bridge on July 10. Der­byshire, Kent, Som­er­set, Worces­ter­shire, Sus­sex and Northamp­ton­shire are all sched­uled to host tour matches, while Eng­land will play an Ashes warm-up fix­ture at Es­sex.

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